The City of London's longest-ever strike, fighting for sacked and reduced-hours cleaners, and the London Living Wage
THE crime scene
100 Wood Street is a prime Square Mile address, designed by Sir Norman Foster and property of Amancio Ortega, the secretive owner of the Zara empire (and the richest man in Europe). The 10-storey building is managed by CBRE, a Fortune 500 real estate firm, and its offices are leased by giants such as JP Morgan Chase and Schroders.
Cleaners at 100 Wood Street were balloted for strike action towards end of May 2016. A outsourcing contract had been awarded to Thames Cleaning & Support Services in April, and the cleaner workforce was duly slashed by over 50%. UVW demanded the full reinstatement of cleaners to restore reasonable workloads for all, and the London Living Wage for all. Thames's blank refusal resulted in UVW giving notice of a successful ballot, which led to attempted injunctions to obstruct the imminent strike, costing them over £20,000! (This also nearly broke the UVW bank...)
The longest strike in city of london history
As days became weeks, the inconvenience for white-collar workers at 100 Wood Street rightly turned into a major embarassment for their employers, and especially for CBRE, the managers of the building. City of London police were called many times, security staff were intimidating, and the tenants were barely coping with a trickle of the former cleaning operation. Eventually, after a surprise flashmob in the building lobby, and then a big march to mark the 50th consecutive day, the decision was taken after 61 days to reinstate all dismissed cleaners, and raise all their pay to the London Living Wage!